Do you still love the familiar passages of Scripture? Do they still teach you and challenge you? Do you grow from words of God that you know deep down? I surely hope that you do.
In recent weeks, I’ve recognized that I need to be better at loving the familiar. God’s word is so good and so rich. God has told us such glorious things. And if we are not careful, we will wander far from the familiar looking for something new, something deep, something others do not know. And when we wander like that, we often wander into trouble.
Thus, it was sweet for me, in my daily reading, to have some time with a very familiar passage.
Matthew 6:19-21 – 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus warns us not to lay up our treasures on earth. Here, moths, rust, thieves, and all sorts of calamities can take our treasure from us. Instead, we are to lay up for ourselves heavenly treasures. We are to find our joy in the Lord and in eternity with him.
Now, here is the place where the wandering reader will look for a new, deeper meaning for this passage. He or she will look for a way to say, “Well, most people think of the passage this way, but I think…” This is what I want to avoid, as the word here is clear, rich, convicting, and beautiful.
God wants you and me to know that heaven is our home. Heaven is where our treasure is to be found. And the treasures of this life pass away. Thus, we are to shape our lives in such a way as to focus our hearts on the eternity with Jesus to come.
Where might this convict you? Are you materialistic? Be careful before you say that you are not. Examine yourself. What things are treasures to you? It might be a particular possession—a car, an electronic device, a house, a yard. It is also possible that your treasure is something less tangible—a reputation, the approval of others, defeating an enemy. Maybe your treasure is experiences—traveling the globe, seeing a particular show, hiking a particular trail, or just having a certain comfort. We can make all sorts of earthly things our treasure, things that deflect our focus from the Lord God.
The key here is to remember that God has promised our souls eternal joy in Christ. There is nothing we must have or do in this life for joy that Christ will not infinitely surpass in eternity. Think about it. What sight do you need to see in this life that will hold a candle to the new heavens and the new earth? Honestly, for those of us who are pre-millennial, what sight do you want to see on earth today that will not be immeasurably better to see in that thousand-year kingdom? What experience of rest or pleasure or art or anything will even come close to what the Lord has in store for us? What can you possibly do to your home in the here and now that will make it look anything like as glorious as the home you will have with the Savior? What joy or approval can you have in the here and now that will even come to your memory as you stand glorified in the presence of the Savior?
I’m not suggesting what we do in this life is irrelevant. Nor am I trying to make you not take a vacation, appreciate art, or see the beauties of creation. All these things can help us to remember the kingdom to come. But if any of these things become our treasure instead of serving as hints at the treasure that we really want, we need to repent. We need to set our eyes on things above. We need to remember that we were made for eternity. We need to remember that heaven really is our home. We need to let Scripture remind us of what is important. WE need to remember that all the things we grab for as treasures in this life will pass away. We need to cling to what will last forever.
Focus on heaven. That’s a simple principle. That’ snot some new, profound word. It’s just challengingly, gloriously true.